AHA News: Despite serious pre-birth diagnosis, fourth-grade student sings tunes, plays piano and softball | Health Info


By American Heart Association News, Health Day reporter

(Health day)

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 24, 2021 (American Heart Association News) – On a day of exaggerated and gender-revealing parties, Traci Poore was different. She and her first husband didn’t want to know if they were going to have a boy or a girl. They didn’t find out about her with their firstborn until she was born, and they planned the same surprise on the day of delivery with their second.

During an ultrasound when Traci was around 25 weeks old, everyone laughed at the size and swelling of the baby’s feet showing on the monitor.

“Then they kind of just kept looking at it, and it started to get longer and longer. And then they said, ‘We’re going to see a doctor. “”

The torque radar went up immediately.

When the radiologist at their local hospital in rural Kansas looked at the screen, he saw something else unusual. It was a 1-centimeter fluid-filled vascular abnormality called a cystic hygroma on the back of the head. Coupled with the swollen feet, he offered a preliminary diagnosis of Turner syndrome and referred the couple to the largest teaching hospital a two-hour drive from Wichita.

The following week, doctors performed another CT scan and amniocentesis.

“We know you don’t want to know the sex, but we kind of have to tell you,” Dr Traci recalled.

They knew this because the couple already had Googled Turner Syndrome. It only affects girls. The condition results from the total or partial absence of the second sex chromosome in some or all of a person’s cells. It is mainly characterized by congenital obstructive heart defects.

Doctors told Traci that her baby is unlikely to come to term alive, and only a very small percentage goes beyond the first trimester. However, a fetal echocardiogram did not reveal any problems with the baby’s heart. Another at 30 weeks went well too.

During the last check-up, at 35 weeks, they discovered a problem.

“They just said very frankly, ‘Your baby is going to have to have open heart surgery or she will die, basically,'” said Traci.

Their baby had a heart defect called coarctation of the aorta. This means that the main artery carrying blood from the heart to the body is narrowed or narrowed. This obstructs the blood flow from the heart to the lower part of the body and causes much higher than normal blood pressure in the left pumping chamber. It can cause thickening and damage to overworked heart muscle.

The family was given two weeks to get everything organized with their work and three hours away to be closer to the Kansas City Children’s Hospital. Maizy Ferrell was born three days later, on June 19, 2012, at exactly 37 weeks. Traci was able to hold her for about 30 seconds before a neonatal intensive care team stepped in to take care of her.

Maizy was 9 days old when surgeons repaired her heart defect. Using donor tissue, they widened the pinch in his aorta, allowing more oxygenated blood to flow. She remained hospitalized until July 22. Two months later, she needed another operation to repair a complication caused by scar tissue.

Now 9 years old, Maizy regularly sees her cardiologist. She receives daily human growth hormone injections to combat one of the problems caused by Turner syndrome. She is on her way to being 5 feet tall and is currently of normal height with the other fourth graders.

“She’s doing great,” Traci said. “She’s active. She plays softball. She dances. She does piano and singing. She started cheerleading this year. She is not allowed to play strength sports.”

Maizy learns “Baby Shark” on the piano. “It’s pretty easy,” she said. She also enjoys singing show tunes from the musical “Hamilton”.

“I can do the Lafayette song,” Maizy said, when asked if she could rap. “I can do this song. I can do ‘Guns and Ships’.”

“That’s how I find her in the backyard,” Traci said. “We’re in the country, so we have a big garden. If I can’t find it, I listen to it and I can usually hear it singing somewhere.”

Soon, thousands of students will hear from Maizy as an ambassador for the American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge. She filmed a message about being a heart survivor that will be shown to elementary students across the country to encourage them to participate in the fundraising and heart health initiative.

“She has obviously benefited from years of research and education,” said Traci, an attorney. “If I hadn’t had the access to the care I had when I had it, Maizy’s story might have been completely different. She’s here because we had early access and intervention. “

American Heart Association News covers heart and brain health. Any opinions expressed in this story do not reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Copyright is owned or owned by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. If you have any questions or comments on this story, please email [email protected]

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